It is Christmas Eve. And I would guess a likely scenario (with some variance) is playing out in your home. Wrapping paper and scissors are scattered across our dining table, Jingle Bell Rock is lilting out of a nearby Bose speaker, breakfast dishes are piled in the sink, empty sleeping bags are crumpled in the living room after last night’s drifting off beneath the sparkle of christmas tree lights, yeast is set out for the rolls I need to bake this afternoon, and when not arguing or screeching, my kids are blindfolding each other, leading sibling after sibling around the house to play a guessing game.
So much joy in living. In family. In knowing why we celebrate.
One of my favorite essays in this Advent book was written by the great theologian and reformer, Martin Luther (1483 – 1546).
As he explains, Jesus’ birth was personal. Personal beyond our mortal comprehension.
It was a birth unto you. For you. Because of you.
And every day, it seems, we must ask for him to be born again. In all of us.
May you find rejoicing in Luther’s thoughts and in your celebrations. As we commemorate the greatest birth realized and foretold. Happy Christmas!
The angel said to them, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people; for there is born to you this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:10
The Gospel teaches that Christ was born, and that he died and suffered everything on our behalf, as is here declared by the angel. In these words you clearly see that he is born for us.
He does not simply say, Christ is born, but to you he is born. Neither does he say, I bring glad tidings, but to you I bring glad tidings of great joy. Furthermore, this joy was not to remain in Christ, but it shall be to all the people…
Nothing can help [our] unholy birth[s] except the pure birth of Christ. For this purpose Christ willed to be born, that through him we might be born anew.
O, this is the great joy of which the angel speaks. This is the comfort and exceeding goodness of God that, if anyone believes this, he can boast of the treasure that… Christ his brother, and God his father. For these things actually occurred and are true, but we must believe. This is the principal thing…
Christ must above all things become our own and we become his. This is what is meant by Isaiah 9:6 “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” To you is born and given this child.
Therefore, see to it that ye do not treat the Gospel only as history, for that is only transient; neither regard it only as an example, for it is of no value without faith. Rather, see to it that you make this birth your own and that Christ be born in you.
– Martin Luther
Artwork: The Shepherds and the Angel by Carl Bloch